Introducing the 2018 Social Solutions Impact Award Nominees

Social Solutions Blog

Introducing the 2018 Social Solutions Impact Award Nominees

Every year, we are honored to present the Social Solutions Impact Award to an organization that changes lives every day. This year, we received over 40 nominations for stellar nonprofits that have accomplished so much for their communities through data.

After careful consideration, we are thrilled to announce eight finalists who excel at using data and technology to do more:

First Place for Youth

Founded in 1998, First Place for Youth works to promote long-term physical, mental, and financial health among young people growing up in foster care. They currently operate in six counties in California (Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Solano), as well as through their My First Place™ Affiliate Network in Boston, New York City, and statewide in Mississippi.

“Each month, Youth Advocates and Education and Employment Specialists meet to review outcomes for each youth they support in ten essential life domains using a six-month trend report,” says Sheigla Averill, Grants Manager. “We also have an entire database in Apricot on our community partners that we use to manage outreach, referrals, and partnerships to coordinate services with other providers in each county we serve.”

First Place for Youth uses data to continuously examine the effectiveness of their program mode and ensure interventions at the right time. They believe this process holds them accountable to the community they serve as well as themselves.


CitySquare utilizes ETO to fight the causes of poverty through service, advocacy and friendship. They develop sustainable partnerships that provide support and encouragement so that all can achieve their full potential. They provide services to those in need from their main campus in Dallas, TX to the surrounding 19 counties.

“CitySquare has been able to show neighbors their movement from poverty towards self-sufficiency. We have created reports that case managers can use to assist in framing the work they should do with their neighbors,” says Wendy Abel, Outcomes Manager. “CitySquare believes in transparency, and to that end we share our data regularly.”

Decision-making and growth are driven by data at CitySquare. In the last two years, they have created and grown their Outcomes Department and committed to continued data-driven decision-making with the use of ETO.

Explore Austin

Explore Austin serves youth living in low-income households and low-income neighborhoods through a six-year program — starting in sixth grade through their graduation from high school. They aim to change the lives of underserved youth through leadership, mentorship, and adventure.

“For many years, [we] relied on spreadsheets to manage program metrics. It was clunky, and hard to track all of the different components of the Program,” explains Laura Nettleton, Director of Development. “With Apricot, we are now able to store all client information in one place. We are able to more effectively track information like demographics, health forms, status in the Program, etc.”

Being able to track data helps Explore Austin evaluate the effectiveness of their program. It provides insights on how to best communicate, assess efficiency, and allows them to adapt and grow as necessary.

Family Greater Services of Vancouver

Family Greater Services of Vancouver ensures children are nurtured, youth find optimism, adults feel empowered, and parents make choices that build strong families. They provide facilities to homeless youth, as well as safehouses and a voluntary residential detox. They operate from a harm-reduction and trauma informed perspective.

“ETO has been a significant asset to Directions Youth Services. It allows us to be responsive to funders regarding trends and demographic information,” says Marnie Goldenberg, Director, Directions Youth Services. “Rather than reviewing paper files together, staff can engage in a conversation knowing that there are various avenues for securing an overview of the previous shift through ETO.”

Tracking data has given them the opportunity to better help their clients. As they get to know clients,  the organization can better figure out how to help, so being able to track their clients plays a role in that process. They can connect clients with services they need through data.

Braille Institute of America

Braille Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss. Their largest program, the Adult program, involves breaking down services and completions for our Low Vision, Technology service, Orientation & Mobility, Independent Living Skills, Group Instruction, and Counseling.

“Our staff is engaged in keeping our database as accurate as possible. ETO has helped us develop workflows and ensure that our staff is part of the solution and that it all makes sense,” says Maria Valdivia, AVP, Information Technology. “Transparency and accountability has risen to new levels.”

The Braille Institute uses data to help expand their services. Thanks to intake information, they can keep track of where their students are coming from. With that, they can make better informed decisions on where to start new satellite centers. Using their data, they’ve also been able to revise their programs to make more of an impact.

The STAR Project

The STAR Project’s mission is to help people successfully reintegrate into the community as productive, contributing members upon being released from incarceration. They operate in Walla Walla and Columbia Counties in Washington State, providing tremendous positive impact for men and women in the criminal justice system. Using Apricot database software, STAR agents log individual client interactions and stay up-to-date on each of their clients’ reentry plans and progress.

“STAR staff members are able to review client documentation within Apricot and immediately get up-to-speed on a client’s case. This is helpful in that it allows staff to focus on what matters most – assisting the client,” says Becky Turner, Executive Director. “Apricot reports are a weekly handout at staff meetings. This data-driven approach to staff meetings has been helpful in remaining on-task, encourages staff members to discuss each client individually, and promotes frequent documentation and uploads of client data.”

STAR’s use of data helps serve its core mission, which they view as service to their community and creating long-term social change.  By tracking their clients’ progress and access to services, they can anticipate problems and better serve each individual participant.

Deaconess Nurse Ministry

Deaconess Nurse Ministry‘s mission is to promote the health and wellness to the Greater St Louis region through our professional registered nurses providing holistic health care. Nurses provide health assessments (blood pressure, pulse, respirations, body temperature, oxygen saturation) and evidence-based health assessment tools, individual or group education, health counseling and educational support, case management and referrals.

“With Apricot we are able truly say that working with this client on this particular issue has resulted in this improved clinical outcome. Using Apricot with hot spots for the nurses in the field allows them access to records, so they can see what the clients have been doing over time,” says Donna Smith-Pupillo, Executive Director. “This enhances the education of the client as the nurse is able to say where the client started and where the client is now.”

Data has given them the opportunity to get a better look at their outcomes. In a recent initiative, Deaconess Nurse Ministry wanted to see if their nurses working consistently in food pantries would contribute to overall health. Tracking outcomes over six months, they found that that 27% of the 97 clients who came to the nurse more than once and had a diagnosis of high blood pressure were able to reduce their blood pressure to a normal reading.

Susquehanna County Interfaith

Susquehanna County Interfaith works to provide help and hope to economically disadvantaged individuals and families in their county. Anyone who qualifies for the Federally funded LiHEAP heating program is qualified for our programs. Clients come in for emergency assistance or one of their programs and Interfaith assists the client with funds to prevent shut offs, assist in other emergency situations, and help stretch their personal budgets to cover all their needs.

“Susquehanna County Interfaith uses technology to track clients as well as see improvement in the families lives. The goal is to walk beside families to the place that they are financially stable. Recently, Susquehanna County was hit with flooding, and because of Apricot, Interfaith was chosen to be the fiscal agent to assist those who asked for help,” says Cynthia Beeman, Executive Director. “Apricot provides the tools to follow the data and give a clear picture of community members assisted within the recovery. It also provides the framework to help our community with data that is not collected anywhere else.”

Being able to track the progress of families helps Interfaith in their mission to help their clients. Being able to track their outcomes helps them apply for grants; being able to easily report on their data gives them the ability to show their impact. Their data tracking helps them make decisions for the future.

The Winners will be announced at Impact Summit 2018

Congratulations to all the finalists! These software superstars are honed and ready to take on any challenge, project, deadline, or grant application. And we are honored to showcase their amazing achievements!

Three winners will be announced October 29th at the Impact Summit Welcome Reception. Want to see all our nominees and winners live, along with Steve Ballmer and other nonprofit rock stars? Join us at Impact Summit – get your ticket today!


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